I Eat, Therefore I Am

Crawfish anyone?

They say, “You are what you eat.”

Many years ago, while in high school, I reached the age of enlightenment and began to think about the food I was putting in my mouth.  Where did it come from?  How was it harvested? What was in the food I consumed?  Up until that point, the answers were simple.  Food came from the store.

I will never forget the day in Health Studies when we discussed the chemicals and hormones injected into beef.  A friend told me how veal was produced.  I studied how chicken is “plumped up” with water.  I was disgusted and swore I would never eat meat again.  These were the days before “free range” and “organic” were part of everyday American vocabulary.

At that moment I became one of the thousands of carefree young adults joining on the vegetarian bandwagon… with no idea where I was headed.

It was years later when I met my future husband, Todd, that I again thought about my diet.   Set up on a blind date we had little in common- other than that fact that we both thought about where our food had come from.  I was a vegetarian.  Todd was a hunter.  It did not concern me that Todd “killed Bambi”.  I knew he consumed the meat he harvested.  The more time I spent with Todd, the more I realized he was on to something.  The meat in his diet was free range, hormone free, organic.  I was intrigued.

With time, Todd taught me how to hunt and helped me enhance my childhood fishing skills.  It was not long before I caught my first salmon.  I shot my first grouse.  I began to garden.  I learned to can, dehydrate, freeze and smoke food for preservation.   I filled my freezer and I knew exactly where my food had come from.

Through my harvests I have found myself.  I have deepened my appreciation for nature and become increasingly grateful for the bounty Mother Nature has to provide.

Today I am defined as a hunter, a fisher, a gardener, and a gather.  I eat. Therefore, I am.

What activities in your life define who you are?  Have you ever put much thought into the food you consume?

Fruits and vegetables from our garden are canned and stored in our pantry.

Our freezer is full of moose, bear, antelope, deer, and elk.

Fish also fills the freezer. Rock fish, ling cod, halibut, salmon, tuna, blue gill, and catfish are almost always available in our home store. We also keep smoked and canned salmon and tuna on hand as a special treat.

How does your garden grow?

Meat in the freezer.

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6 thoughts on “I Eat, Therefore I Am

  1. I think about this all the time, particularly as I’m forking out $12 for one organic piece of steak. I just couldn’t bring myself to hunt and kill but I 100% support killing your own, and eating the whole beast/fish. Hopefully I’ll make friends with someone who can and I can feel much better about where my meat comes from!
    These days humans feast on meat, store it in freezers and generally consume more than is necessary to sustain both a healthy diet and the delicate balance of nature. I have deep respect for you and your husband, particularly you because you really took on board with an open mind another’s viewpoint – a vegetarian versus hunter often gets very awkward if not aggressive!

    I don’t know about my activities defining who I am. At this very moment I am trying to carve myself a new lifestyle of ‘slow’ incorporating sustainability of self and the environment and being mindful. Living more, working less. I’m a student of naturopathic nutrition and a student of life. If they define me then I’m a student forever!

    Great post and photos x

  2. Thank you for your kind, supportive comments. I try my best. (Although I have to admit I do break down and buy a nice, juicy prime rib for Christmas dinner every year. It is a hard tradition to break). My husband and I are now raising our young son to follow in our footsteps. He isn’t old enough to hunt, but we take him foraging with us when we gather mushrooms, fiddler heads, etc., from the forest floor. Our son also has his own corner of our garden to call his own. He loves being able to live a bit on the wild side, and I love that he is gaining an appreciation for the Earth at a much younger age than I did. I hold out hope for future generations.

  3. I hunt, fish, garden, wild harvest and raise our chicken and turkey, along with eggs from our chickens, turkeys and ducks. We raised cattle and pigs for meat and kept goats and a Dexter cow for milk. It’s comforting to know where our food comes from, how it was raised and grown, how the animals lived and died. It matters.

    It was great to read that you learned about these things in school. That’s encouraging.

  4. I love this post. I do think about this more and more….I took my hunter safety last fall and am learning how to shoot a gun, with plans of going hunting with my husband this year. I too, started a garden and have really enjoyed going out back to pick something for dinner. Since moving to CO from MA 4 years ago….I have found all these “new to me activities”…I have even learned how to can and make my own jam.

    • Thanks Janet for the kind words. I am really enjoying my love affair with the outdoors. It has been challenging emotionally and physically at times, but I cherish every moment I can spend outside and look forward to seeing how my passion for hunting and fishing evolves from here.

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